Georgia manufacturing slips in March, but still looking stronger

The Georgia Purchasing Managers Index, a measurement compiled from a survey of manufacturers around the state, fell to 60.7 last month, a decline of 0.3. It had risen 8.7 points in February and 4.9 points in January after an inconsistent 2011.

Still, the state's March PMI remained well above the 50.0 mark that distinguishes sector expansion from contraction. The PMI is compiled by the Coles College of Business Econometric Center at Kennesaw State University. The Georgia PMI was last under 50 in December 2011.

Manufacturers are surveyed regarding variables including new orders, production, employment, supply deliveries and finished inventory. In March, the index increased for new orders, production and supply deliveries, and decreased for employment and finished inventory.

Don Sabbarese, director of the Econometric Center, said that even though the PMI declined in March, it "still remains at a level of strong growth to round out the first quarter 2012. Two solid months of plus-60 readings bodes well for the state of manufacturing."

According to the March report, 55 percent of manufacturers expect higher production in the next three to six months. That could point to a "sustainable upward trend."

Sabbarese said, "It looks like Georgia manufacturing may be moving to a higher growth path. Another month at this level and the data will give us a clearer picture."

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